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Linda Lou

Obsessive reader, 6-10 books a week, chosen from Member reviews. Fact & fiction, subjects from the Tudors to Tookie, Harlem to Hiroshima, Huey Long to Huey Newton.  In-depth fair reviews - from front to BLACK!!! 

Cave Creek, AZ USA

1102
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 213 reviews
  • 1307 ratings
  • 2049 titles in library
  • 185 purchased in 2014
FOLLOWING
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FOLLOWERS
135

  • The Red Queen: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Philippa Gregory
    • Narrated By Bianca Amato
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (839)
    Performance
    (520)
    Story
    (531)

    Heiress to the red rose of Lancaster, Margaret Beaufort never surrenders her belief that her house is the true ruler of England and that she has a great destiny before her. Her ambitions are disappointed when her sainted cousin Henry VI fails to recognize her as a kindred spirit, and she is even more dismayed when he sinks into madness.

    Karin says: "Good book, unsympathetic heroine"
    "AWFUL, AWFUL, AWFUL!!!!!"
    Overall

    This is the worst book I've ever read by Gregory. Did she write it grade school?! I enjoy novels based on historical fact, even those where a lot of "literary license" has been used. But this book is a hot mess. No where in history has Lady Margaret Beaufort ever been depicted as a whiny, vain, selfish, spiteful, narcissistic, hateful, self-righteous, delusional, bi-polar, homicidal maniac. Gregory sets the tone that Beaufort is inspired by the martyr Joan of Arc. This makes no sense because it's apparent that Margaret knows very little about the saint's life and struggles. The only difficult thing Margaret did her entire life is have a baby. All she does is "playa-hates" on the beautiful Elizabeth Woodville, calling her a slut and power-hungry whore, yet SHE's the one who is guilty of doing whatever she can to advance the son she barely even knows. She plots the downfall of others to put him on English throne, even the murder of two children, stating that it's OK "because God sanctioned it". She claims that God speaks to her personally and can't understand why she nor her son, the future King Henry VII, aren't treated like celebs since she's basically His BFF. Her hatred against and obsession with Elizabeth is pathological. Vanity, hate, and spite don't get you a sainthood, Margie! The writing is repetitive - the author will tell you the same thing 10 times as if it were the first time she said it. Gregory took what could have been a very interesting plot twist about a minor historical figure and turned it into something that's nonsensical and painful to listen to with all of the hateful whining. The narrator's delivery of this "cow patty" adds nothing positive since she sounds like she's about to burst into tears any moment. You can get a better perspective of the beginning of the Tudor dynasty from Wikipedia! Save your credit/money!

    13 of 16 people found this review helpful
  • Dressed for Death

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 49 mins)
    • By Donna Leon
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (240)
    Performance
    (153)
    Story
    (152)

    Commissario Guido Brunetti's hopes for a refreshing family holiday in the mountains are once again dashed when a gruesome discovery is made in Marghera--a body so badly beaten the face is completely unrecognizable. Brunetti searches Venice for someone who can identify the corpse but is met with a wall of silence. He then receives a telephone call from a contact who promises some tantalizing information.

    Tom says: "marvelous duo"
    "MY NEWEST "GUILTY PLEASURE" IN BOOK SERIES"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Gotta love Italian police detective Guido Brunetti! Author Donna Leon serves up Venetian life with a side a great food and wines. The characters are well-rounded and the subject matter is deeply researched. I'm working my way through the entire series and I'm hoping that the missing audiobooks will be available soon.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sylvester: Or, the Wicked Uncle

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By Georgette Heyer
    • Narrated By Nicholas Rowe
    Overall
    (265)
    Performance
    (229)
    Story
    (233)

    When Sylvester, the Duke of Salford, first meets Phoebe Marlow, he finds her dull and insipid. She thinks he is insufferably arrogant. But when a series of unforeseen events leads them to be stranded together in a lonely country inn, they are both forced to reassess their hastily formed opinions, and they begin to discover a new-found liking and respect for each other. But what Sylvester doesn’t know is that Phoebe is about to publish a novel - a novel in which all London will recognize him as the villainous ‘Count Ugolino’

    C. Mendez says: "Finally!!!"
    "GOOD STUFF"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    If you're a true Georgette Heyer fan, you'll love this one! I listened to the abridged version of this book a couple of years ago but I enjoyed the longer one even more. Narrator Nicholas Rowe hits it out of the park with his characterization of Sylvester and the lesser cast members.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Suffer the Little Children

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Donna Leon
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (123)
    Performance
    (46)
    Story
    (43)

    When Commissario Brunetti is summoned in the middle of the night to the hospital bed of a pediatrician, he is confronted with more questions than answers. Three men, a young carabiniere captain and two privates from out of town, burst into the doctor's apartment while the family was sleeping, attacked him, and took away his 18-month-old boy. What could have motivated an assault by the forces of the state that was so violent it has left the doctor mute?

    David says: "Inspector Brunetti continues to please"
    "GREAT ITALIAN DETECTIVE SERIES!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I love this series about Venetian police detective, Commissarie Guido Brunetti! Donna Leon writes great crime mysteries while giving the listener an "armchair" tour of Venice. I've read quite a few in this series and, even though several are not yet available in audio format, each novel stands on its own so they can be read/listened to out of order. Again we have great plot twists with a surprise ending, delicious food, good wines, mini-Italian language lessons, and locale color. Narrator David Colacci is awesome with his command of Italian dialects, along with those of Europe and North African - the melting pot diversity of Venice. This is a great book - ignore a recent "hater" who recently has been randomly rating ALL of my reviews as "Not Helpful". Listen to the books I review and judge for yourself. I'm honest about MY tastes but you may see something different. It's called individuality! Try this one for size - I think you'll love it as much as I did!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Foundling

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Georgette Heyer
    • Narrated By Phyllida Nash
    Overall
    (123)
    Performance
    (96)
    Story
    (100)

    The shy young Duke of Sale has never known his parents. Instead, his Grace Adolphus Gillespie Vernon Ware or Gilly for short has endured 24 years of rigorous mollycoddling from his uncle and his valet. But his natural diffidence conceals a rebellious spirit. So when Gilly hears of Belinda, the beautiful foundling who appears to be blackmailing his cousin, he absconds with glee. Only he has no sooner entered his new and dangerous world than he is plunged into a frenzy of intrigue, kidnap and adventure.

    Amanda says: "Rollicking Adventure"
    "ANOTHER GREAT GEORGETTE HEYER BOOK"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've been a Heyer fan ever since I read my first work by her, also the first romance novel in my 60 years of reading. Again, Heyer does not fail to deliver yet another charming and witty Regency era book. Usually she writs from the perspective of an independent woman of either noble or genteel birth. Here she gives a great account of an overly protected Duke who escapes his handlers to spend several harrowing, exciting and often dangerous days as "Mr. Dash of Nowhere In Particular". Narrator Phyllida Nash is magnificent as always. Great story!

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Map Thief: The Gripping Story of an Esteemed Rare-Map Dealer Who Made Millions Stealing Priceless Maps

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 35 mins)
    • By Michael Blanding
    • Narrated By Sean Runnette
    Overall
    (63)
    Performance
    (55)
    Story
    (56)

    Maps have long exerted a special fascination on viewers - both as beautiful works of art and as practical tools to navigate the world. But to those who collect them, the map trade can be a cutthroat business, inhabited by quirky and sometimes disreputable characters in search of a finite number of extremely rare objects.

    Once considered a respectable antiquarian map dealer, E. Forbes Smiley spent years doubling as a map thief - until he was finally arrested slipping maps out of books in the Yale University library.

    Andy says: "with a little charm, you can rob almost anyone"
    "AN OPPORTUNITY WASTED!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    GRIPPING?!? I don't think so! This is probably the most boring book I've ever listened to. This was an opportunity wasted by the author. A little-known subject matter which COULD have made a great story. All I got was a greedy privileged man who thought he was above the law. When caught, Edward Smiley got sentenced for a white-collar crime. Yet, he stole valuable antique maps with the "mens rea" of a street thug. Cat burglars, jewel thieves and even map thieves should be charming and charismatic. Smiley had the personality of a box of wood chips! Author Michael Blanding does nothing to raise this subject and this sociopath to the level of any intelligent person's interest.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Blood from a Stone

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Donna Leon
    • Narrated By David Colacci
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (138)
    Performance
    (56)
    Story
    (55)

    On a cold Venetian night, shortly before Christmas, a street vendor is killed in a scuffle in Campo San Stefano. The closest witnesses are the tourists who had been browsing the man's wares: fake handbags of every designer label. The dead man had been working as a vu cumpra, one of the many African immigrants purveying goods outside normal shop hours and without work permits. Commissario Brunetti's response is that of everybody involved: why would anyone kill an illegal immigrant?

    connie says: "genre surprise"
    "PREDICTABLE & DISAPPOINTING"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is the 3rd of this series that I've listened to. I enjoyed "Fatal Remedies" and "Doctored Evidence" so much that bought this one before finishing the 2nd one. (NOTE: All of the books in this series are not available in audiobook format. However, each novel stands on its own without much passage of time between them so the reader is able to jump around, even skipping several without much negative impact.).

    This book plods along with usual slow pace that the author seems to embrace, with much "stage business" like describing a person flicking imaginary lint from his or her clothing or the biting the lower lip in a contemplative manner while pondering a question asked. The reader is given indepth descriptions of Venice and the customs and mores of all of its disparate citizens. One can almost smell the canals, the crush of humanity on a hot humid day, or the bouquet of a very excellent wine at a sidewalk cafe. We become one with main character, Commissario Guido Brunetti, and his colleagues at the police department. Several reviewers have complained about the unbelievable amount of time that the author spends on telling us about Brunetti's personal life with his wife and two teenaged children. I agree that it is a bit overdone but somehow doesn't take away from the real story of rampant criminal behaviors in Italy (from common pickpockets to the highest political arenas in the country), the investigation of complex crime plots and, finally, the successful resolution leading to arrests - although not necessarily CONVICTION, since that depends on the socio-economic status of the perpetrator(s). That's seems to be the only reason that Brunetti has a job at all! If not for him, every poor Italian or illegal immigrant charged with murder - especially the Africans - would be lynched in the center of the Venetian version of Times Square ("Tempo Piazza", perchance?) after a very quick, very unfair trial. But I like Commissario Brunetti, Venice, his family, and his intelligent way of solving crimes against very difficult obstacles, including his immediate supervisor. I've learned a lot about the country, and even more about great foods and wines from Brunetti's wife, a fantastic cook. I've even picked up a fair amount of Italian "survival phrases" in just 3 books. Narrator David Colacci is outstanding! He's a master at all of the numerous dialects and accents in Italy, plus France, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, Senegal, Sierra Leone, etc. - you name it, he can do it! All while reading in English with a decidedly non-regional American accent.

    OK, that's my take on the overall series. As for THIS particular story, I was a bit disappointed. Usually the reader doesn't get the "reveal" until a few chapters from the end and even then, there's another unexpected plot twist. We are normally introduced to the murder within the first 20 minutes of the story. Next, we are "forced" - not in a bad way - to wade through hours of stage business, dozens of reoccurring secondary and non-reoccurring tertiary characters, needless dialogue, food preparation, plating, and devouring, in-depth location descriptions, police investigations (with much MIS-investigations from the higher-ups), Brunetti's illegal and often unethical undercover investigations with his personal team of "Untouchables" - until suddenly we all get the actual crime, why the murder (or murders) had to go down, and whom is responsible. Good stuff!

    Here, the whole tapestry of the plot unravels within the first few paragraphs of the book. Follow me.....this is not a spoiler, just plain common sense that Sherlock Holmes' DOG could deduce: A broad daylight execution of a street vendor in Venice by two swarthy-looking guys recruited from Italy's version of "The Dirty South", i.e., Sicily. They use small caliber revolvers with silencers. The kill is up close, clean, and efficient. The victim is African. Once that tidbit is juxtaposed with the words in the title "blood" and "stone", it doesn't take a rocket scientist - or, in this case, a certified gemologist - to figure out where the story is going. The Mafia wasn't contracted over a bunch of knock-off Louis Vuitton purses! After the first 15 minutes, I was not desperate enough to salivate over the description of thyme-infused grilled skirt steak with creamy polenta and a glass of Badia A Coltibuono to commit an additional 8.5 hours to this book! No, grazie, i miei amici da Audible.com! Arrivederci!

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Left to Die

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Lisa Jackson
    • Narrated By Alan Nebelthau
    Overall
    (245)
    Performance
    (176)
    Story
    (176)

    Lisa Jackson's novels of romance and suspense race up the best-seller charts. In Left to Die, the Pinewood County Sheriff 's Department is on the trail of a cold-blooded killer who acts as a savior to women stranded during terrible mountain snowstorms before stripping them of their dignity and leaving them to die, a victim of the elements. But the killer's latest victim managed to escape, leading some to believe there may now be an imposter on the loose.

    mary says: "Worst Narrator Ever!"
    "WHAT?!?"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    If I hadn't wasted almost 15 hours for NO conclusion!


    What could Lisa Jackson have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    She could have wrapped this plot line up in THIS book, not force readers to waste another 15 hours listening to the next book in this series "Chosen To Die". By hour 5, I "Wanted To Die"!!!


    How could the performance have been better?

    Other listeners seemed to hate narrator Alan Nebelthau's fast pace. I'm really hard on narrators, yet that was not my problem with him. This book is written by a woman, about women victims and women detectives. Why use a male narrator? To distance the story from "chick-lit"? I can't imagine how anyone could get mixed up with the raw, grim subject matter. Nebelthau Is not bad but his craggy, "Tombstone" cowboy voice just doesn't fit.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Left to Die?

    Way too many to list here. Just let me say that I skipped Chapters 12 thru 23, inclusive. And I don't feel like I missed a thing!


    Any additional comments?

    This book could have been told in half the time. Interwoven separate plot lines were unnecessary and intrusive upon the main story. Then to slog through 15 hours of a jumbled story, only to find out that I have to buy ANOTHER book and slog through an additional 14 hours is just too much. I love book series - the listener/reader gets to become comfortable and knowledgeable about the main character along with several reappearing supporting ones. The only thing that changes is the crime/mystery/thriller - the detective solves each crime in each book and we move on together. I don't buy into "cliffhanger" novels where I go through hours of investigation and terror, only to NOT find out what happened. And, in the end, all of these different plot lines just don't align up right. By skipping most of this book, I still ended up where everyone else did - in a lot less time.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • A Case of Redemption

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Adam Mitzner
    • Narrated By Kevin T. Collins
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1564)
    Performance
    (1350)
    Story
    (1363)

    A high-profile attorney in the middle of a leave of absence following a personal tragedy is drawn back into the legal arena amidst a media firestorm when he agrees to represent a popular rap artist accused of brutally murdering his pop star girlfriend. With its powerful voice, pause-resisting tension, and strong cast of characters, Adam Mitzner’s novels are reminiscent of such best-selling authors as Scott Turow and John Grisham.

    cristina says: "Excellent"
    "PRETTY GOOD MYSTERY THRILLER"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    At first I had difficulty getting into this story. Mainly because it's about a rap artist charged with murder and the fact that I've worked in rap for 25 years as a consultant and songwriter. For me, it seemed like it was panning out to be the same misunderstood white person's idea of the rap genre and the people involved. In some ways I was right. But, for the less jaded, overall this was a good story with plenty of unexpected plot twists. The narration is perfect for this book - usually a major complaint for me.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Against Her Will: Pinnacle True Crime

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By Ronald J. Watkins
    • Narrated By Greg Lutz
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (44)
    Performance
    (39)
    Story
    (38)

    Richard and Victoria Tinyes feared the worst when their thirteen year old daughter Kelly Ann vanished from their quiet suburban community of Valley Stream, New York, on March 3, 1999. But the nightmare to come was worse than they could ever imagine. Only five doors away, in the home of John and Elizabeth Golub, police found Kelly Ann's body stuffed in a plastic garbage bag. She'd been brutally beaten, stabbed, strangled, and mutilated. After weeks of intense investigation, police arrested the Golubs twenty-one-year-old son, Robert - a reclusive young man obsessed with bodybuilding and given to fits of rage. The sensational trial and subsequent conviction of Robert Golub shocked the nation and tore the once peaceful community apart. Neighbors took sides. So did the media. And no one who lived on Horton Road would ever be the same. Note on audio book: Except for the beginning and end of the book, there is no longer any music.

    Laura says: "Well-written true-crime book"
    "LESS TRUE CRIME THAN IMMATURE PARENT BEHAVIORS"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've read a kazillion true crime books but this is hardly a really good one. This is less about the horrific murder of a young teen than it is an indictment of the family and friends on what is allegedly a bucolic Long Island neighborhood. The possible murderer takes a back seat to the uncivilized, animalistic actions of the victim's family in the wake of the crime and the people who lived on the street where the crime took place. As the wife of a murder victim, I can say first-hand that fighting among the families takes away from what a trial is all about: Justice For All. The adults' behavior was so outrageous that the listener completely forgot about the poor child who was murdered. Pass on this one.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By E. B. Sledge
    • Narrated By Marc Vietor, Joe Mazzello, Tom Hanks
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (240)
    Performance
    (223)
    Story
    (226)

    The celebrated 2010 HBO miniseries The Pacific, winner of eight Emmy Awards, was based on two classic books about the War in the Pacific, Helmet for My Pillow and With The Old Breed. Audible Studios, in partnership with Playtone, the production company co-owned by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, and creator of the award-winning HBO series Band of Brothers, John Adams, and The Pacific, as well as the HBO movie Game Change, has created new recordings of these memoirs, narrated by the stars of the miniseries.

    Richard says: "This is the second audio book of Sledge's work"
    "AWESOME FIRST-HAND ACCOUNT OF WWII IN THE PACIFIC!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    THIS is the book to read for the stories behind HBO's "Pacific" mini-series. The show was based on this book and "Helmet For My Pillow", which I read first. It was so poetic, prosey and philosophical that the reader/listener doesn't really FEEL the horrors of war from the men who fought it on the ground, as "cannon fodder". Think of Shakespeare writing "Generation Kill": "Where the art thy going, Caesar? Can not thou see-eth that thy tank-eth hath sallied forth a mere 10 clicks from Angincourt?" That's literally how flowery "Helmet" was!

    But here we get first-hand all of the horror and fear of the young men, many still in their teens, who are inadequately prepared mentally for such trauma. US Marine E.B. Sledge's name has been mentioned in quite a few of the books that I've read about World War II in the Pacific. It's easy to see why so many people had a great respect for the brave young man. I don't even need to watch the mini-series after this book. I'm glad that the other story involved didn't keep me from such a great experience!

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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